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Revitalizing Jamestown: New group hopes to bring life back to downtown

In Local News on April 4, 2021 at 11:29 am

By Gery Deer

Editor

Special Report – Revitalizing Jamestown, Ohio. Watch our feature story here!

April 4, 2021 – Jamestown, Ohio – The eastern Greene County village of Jamestown, Ohio, once had a thriving downtown. Over the years, Jamestown’s business district was home to a movie theatre, five-and-dime stores, hardware, and multiple restaurants. Historically, most of the town’s commerce was generated by farming and lumberyards. Gradually, however, as farming slowed and land was sold off, building and plastics manufacturers became the primary employers.

But in the early 1990s two fires ripped through the downtown area, an economic blow from which the village has never completely recovered. And, while some efforts have been made toward revitalization, only the Jamestown Opera House has been fully restored, thanks to the local historical society. As for the rest of the area, urban sprawl, deteriorating buildings, and overwhelming renovation costs have diminished hope for a full comeback. 

However, one local group of idealistic entrepreneurs is a bit more optimistic. Jamestown native Luke Linville and his wife Adrienne, both realtors, returned to the village a year ago and began working on ways to breathe new life into the decaying business district.  

Main Street Jamestown founders/board of directors:
Amber Trotter, Chase Trotter, Adrienne Linville, and Luke Linville

The Linvilles partnered with Amber and Chase Trotter, who were also interested in a revitalization initiative. Together, the group formed the board of directors for Main Street Jamestown, a non-profit organization intended to support local businesses and property owners through grants, donations, and fundraising events.

“There are a lot of people trying to do good here like the Lions Club. We want to make Jamestown a better place and we have a passion for it, having grown up here,” Linville said. “We are trying to make people aware that there are businesses downtown, that there are people who are doing really good down here.”

When the previous owner of Something New florist retired in 2019, Kristine Erwin purchased the building and started renovations. Located at 18 W. Washington St., on the southwest block of the downtown, the flower shop was one of the few structures to survive the fires along that strip, but not without some scars. 

Kristine Erwin, Owner of Something New Faith, Flowers, Finds in Jamestown, Ohio

“The fire took the second floor of this building and so the roof has been leaking for many years,” said Erwin, a retired Greeneview teacher who credits her faith for guiding her to make this new career move. “There was damage to the ceiling and a lot of mold along the outside wall and in the back. We have replaced the plumbing and the heating and next we will be working on replacing the electrical.” 

One of the major issues with the storefront, however, is the old, single-pane windows, which need to be replaced to help with heating and cooling as well as signage and window displays. Fortunately, Erwin met Amber Trotter, who had also opened a new photography studio right next door. Main Street Jamestown had its first project.

As an inaugural event, the group held a fundraiser on March 20th to help Erwin replace two, large storefront windows. Held in the Lions Club lot next door to the flower shop, Main Street Jamestown offered games, a raffle, food and branded merchandise, with all proceeds going toward the Something New window project. Despite a cold but sunny spring day, organizers said the fundraiser was a great success and raised more than $1,500. More information about something Erwin’s shop is available online at www.somethingnewfaithflowersfinds.com.

Linville and his team would like to support area residents as well as downtown businesses. “Of course it starts with the downtown businesses and goes out from there and we hope to help residents as well,” he said. “We want to help with a leaky roof or landscaping or whatever someone may need that we can do. Every effort helps Jamestown look more attractive to people so they will come here and the businesses and town will thrive.”

The organization is busy on social media with regular live videos and event postings, all in hopes of engaging volunteers and raising money for future projects. “Right now what we’re doing is spreading the word,” Linville said. “If you see us post on social media please like and share. The more people we can get to interact with us, the more people who live in the area will be aware of us; even those who come here visiting family or come to the lake (Shawnee Hills) in the summer.”

Main Street Jamestown’s next event is a downtown street fair slated for April 24; information is available on their Facebook page. The organization is also partnered with the non-profit group Greene Giving and tax-deductible donations can be made online at https://greenegiving.ejoinme.org/MyPages/MainStreetJamestown/tabid/1223992/Default.aspx.

For more information on ways to support Main Street Jamestown, contact them on Facebook @MainStreetJamestown, call 937-374-9424, or email mainstreetjamestown@gmail.com.

You can also support Main Street Jamestown by purchasing branded apparrel. The online store is open until April 11th! https://mainstreetjamestown.itemorder.com/sale?fbclid=IwAR0K-FfFdltryPey7pw0LcQY-tk4-ZxJrCUxDZWmLRIYLG-RxQxQsCRWzg8

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